When we talk about the concept of sustainable packaging, the discussion usually centers on improving economic and environmental performance. Rarely does the third leg of the sustainability “stool”– social performance — come up.
This is a shame, because the social impacts of packaging are at least as important as the environmental and economic impacts. Consider these 5 social benefits of more sustainable packaging:
1. Product Protection: By helping to preserve the taste, freshness, and nutritional value of the foods you buy, developing more sustainable packaging helps extends food shelf life and minimizes waste and spoilage. This has a positive impact on food supply and global sustainability (not to mention helping your grocery dollars stretch further).
2. Family Safety: Tamper proof seals, date codes, and pop-up lids protect you and your loved ones by ensuring that medications and foods are safe at point of purchase and ready for consumption when you get them home.
3. Product Usage: What’s the proper way to work a weed whacker? Prepare and cook a turkey? Deliver and dose medications? It’s on the package.
4. Availability: How do you get food, water, clothing, and other essentials to areas that have been hit by natural disasters, political turmoil, or famine? Packaging gets it there safely and ready for use.
5. Convenience: Ready to harvest your own food and milk your own cows? Buy everything you need in bulk and break it down at home? Take a canteen on a hike, picnic, or long trip? Didn’t think so. Sustainable packaging helps support our lifestyle choices.
As you can see, a sustainable plastic package does more than minimize negative economic and environmental impacts. It also maximizes social impacts. Remind the naysayers that the social value of packaging is a large part of the sustainable value equation.